The original Seattleite (photo credit: Steven Pavlov via Wikimedia Commons)
What’s your definition of a true Seattleite? When can you officially say that you’re from here? If you asked 10 people you’d probably get 10 different answers.
Are you only a legitimate Seattlite if you grew up inside the city limits? Or is it a matter of having lived here a certain number of years, or a certain percentage of your life? Or is it something more abstract, like an attitude or mentality? How do you earn your stripes?
Personally, I think of myself as a Seattleite. I moved to the city from California in 2002, when The Seattle Times hired me on as a news researcher. So I’ve been here 10 years, and Seattle feels like my home town now. I own a condo in Belltown, I have great friends here, and I feel integrated into the life of the city. When people stop me on the street for directions, I can usually help out. I can pronounce Puyallup without having to think about it first. I’m even pulling espresso shots at home these days. I would call myself a Seattleite without hesitation. But would someone who was born and raised in the city agree with me? Hard to say–I’d ask, but the problem is, I don’t meet a lot of folks who actually did grow up in Seattle.
And the data back me up on this. According to the just-released Census Bureau estimates for 2011, about 62 percent of Seattle residents were not born in Washington state. In other words, three out of every five people living in the city aren’t native Washingtonians, let alone native Seattleites.